Sometimes words hurt – even though the intent is the exact opposite.

I found myself in a situation recently, where someone I look up to corrected me – at church, right before worship. While they did it in a loving way, and I thanked them for the feedback and said I appreciated it – I couldn’t help but feel a lump form in my throat and tears well up in my eyes.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Maybe you didn’t have to fight back tears, but you allowed doubt and negative self-talk to play on repeat in your mind. You’ve probably heard it said that you’re your own worst critic. I believe this holds true, but it’s because the enemy loves to make us doubt what God has said about us.

So, where do we go from here? How do we get from a place of beating ourselves up and holding resentment to a place of peace and unity? Here are a few suggestions. I pray that they encourage you.

  1. Make sure you understand what was said. As imperfect people, what we say can be confusing. Just because something makes sense to us doesn’t mean it does to everyone else. If you’re confused, it’s okay to ask for clarification to make sure that you understand. Also, avoid taking away from or adding to what was said. Take it at face value.
  2. Examine motives. On both ends. Ask yourself, “Was this person trying to hurt me or help me grow? Is there something going on in their life that I don’t see that could be affecting them? Is there something going on in my own life that may be making me more sensitive in this situation? Is my pride getting in the way? Am I more focused on my own imperfections than asking God what he’s trying to teach me?”
    If you can’t get past the hurt, pray and consider going to the person. Don’t go venting to other people or asking for handfuls of advice. Wise counsel is great, but keep it limited. Jesus is your best go-to. If you decide to go to the person, try to do it face-to-face when possible. Pray with them before you even begin speaking. Avoid using statements where the other person feels attacked. When in doubt, refer to the “I feel…when you…because I” method of communication.
    Whether you are giving feedback or following up on feedback given – always communicate your intent.  A wise leader told me it’s okay to say, “I don’t have the right words to say this, so I pray that you will hear my heart.”
  3. Decide what you’re going to do about it. Although only temporarily, after being corrected at church, I allowed myself to play those words over and over in my head along with the lies the enemy was trying to sew. In that moment, I was so wrapped up in myself that I wasn’t even present during worship. I recognized that what I was feeling was not from God and that I needed to combat it with the truth.
    Then I remembered a quote from an amazing book I had just read (Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges), which says, “If Satan had a formula for self-worth he would love you to buy into, it would be Self-Worth = Performance + the Opinion of Others.”
    I began to repeat to myself, “My performance + the opinion of others does NOT equal my value. My value is in Jesus, in who he created me to be. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  

After I cast out the lies of the enemy and stood firm on God’s truth, I began to feel peace and was able to take a step back and look at the situation from God’s perspective, which prompted the above questions and inspired this post.

When words hurt, are you going to let it ruin your mood, affect your day, or poison how you treat others? Or are you going to give grace and learn the lesson?

The enemy can do a lot of damage when we allow him to poison our perspective. Thankfully, our God can do more good when we bring ourselves and our hurt before him. I encourage you to see with the eyes of Jesus. Love others, be quick to forgive, learn the lesson and pass it along.

What the devil can do to us is no match for what God can do through us!